The University of Tennessee Health Science Center has received accreditation for a new anesthesiology residency program in its College of Medicine.
The residency program was approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) following a detailed application process that involved collaboration by the university and its partner teaching hospitals. The inaugural cohort of residents will start in July 2020.
Steven Boggs, MD, MBA, FASA, CPE, FAACD, professor and chair of Anesthesiology at UTHSC, said the residency program is a major step for the College of Medicine and the university.
“Anesthesia is a support service, but we’re a critical support service, because we interface with so many areas of the hospital,” he said. “Without a really strong anesthesia department, you are working in an academic center at a disadvantage.”
Dr. Boggs also is chief of the Anesthesia Service at Regional One Health, a major teaching hospital for UTHSC. Faculty of the UTHSC Department of Anesthesiology staff hospitals across the city.
“Memphis is the largest city in size without an anesthesia residency, and there’s no residency in this part of Tennessee,” he said. “I know there’s a tremendous demand for anesthesiologists in the Mid-South. So, I think we will be filling a very important niche.”
Dr. Boggs said the clinical opportunities in Memphis are optimal for training anesthesiology residents. “Methodist has its transplant program, its cardiac program, and a stellar neurosurgery program. At Regional One Health, we excel in trauma care, the delivery of high-risk obstetrical care, and all of the acute pain work associated with orthopedic trauma. We have two exceptional pediatric hospitals, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Finally, the Memphis VA Medical Center is a critical partner. The clinical material we have here is as good as one could assemble anywhere. Our residents will be able to get a superb clinical experience during their residency program.”
He said the program will provide a focused and supportive residency experience. “The focus of this residency program is to ensure that our residents receive the very best training possible,” he said.
Each class will take three residents. An anesthesiology residency takes four years. “When we are fully in the four-year cycle, we will have 12 residents,” Dr. Boggs said.
Joy Steadman, MD, vice chair of anesthesiology, education and research, and division head for OB and Trauma Anesthesia at UTHSC, was recruited to the university to facilitate the accreditation process. She said it took nearly two years and required hundreds of pages of forms describing curriculum, goals, and objectives.
“Anesthesiologists have to know what every other physician knows, how all drugs affect the body, including illicit ones, and how disease processes impact the body,” Dr. Steadman said. “Our residency program is designed to create the kind of physician who will understand all the nuances of other specialties, not just our own.”
To receive the accreditation, in addition to demonstrating the excellent clinical exposure available to residents, the college had to show that anesthesiology faculty members are involved in research, and that there is a strong commitment from the administration and partner hospitals for the residency program.
“A key for any of the top-tier surgical programs around the country is to have a top-flight residency, where trainees are exposed to cutting-edge techniques and special environments,” said Jon McCullers, MD, senior executive associate dean of Clinical Affairs and chief operating officer for the College of Medicine, and pediatrician-in-chief of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. “We have those programs here in Memphis as part of our academic medical center, and we welcome this new development.”
Dr. Boggs said the residency program opens the door for the college to apply for anesthesia fellowships in the future.
“We are delighted to receive accreditation for our Anesthesia Residency Training Program,” said UTHSC College of Medicine Executive Dean Scott Strome, MD. “This successful accreditation process speaks to the fantastic leadership of our Anesthesia Department chair and his tremendous team. We now have the privilege to train the next generation of anesthesiologists, who will provide state-of-the-art anesthesia care for our patients, while also addressing the research and educational needs of the College of Medicine.”